How the lungs work


There are many ways and means of keeping your lungs healthy. As cited by the American Lung Association breathing exercises are likely to rid the lungs of accumulated stale air, increase oxygen levels and enable the diaphragm to do its job of assisting in breathing. In addition, exercising, preventing infections, quitting smoking, and avoiding pollutants are also helpful.

Effect of Altitude on Lung Health

The oxygen tension in the air and barometer pressure is lower when the altitude is higher. The environment above 2000 meters above sea level is called hypobaric hypoxia.

The lungs of most people adapt to these types of environmental conditions, but those with unhealthy lungs react adversely to these conditions. The increased air density, humidity, and decreased temperature could lead to complications in the lungs.

Common Complications

Increased airway reactivity, higher exposure to air pollution due to vehicle emissions or wood-burning stoves and impaired oxygen delivery are some of the common complications that could take effect in the lungs.


Common Lung Conditions due to High Altitude

The most dangerous condition is HAPE or high-altitude pulmonary edema, which is caused by the accumulation of fluid in the lungs due to non-cardiac issues and it can happen by spending minimum two days in altitudes higher than 2500 meters.

The most common condition that afflicts 25% to 50% of people who are not used to being above 2000 meters is called pulmonary dysfunction or acute mountain sickness. The symptoms are insomnia, nausea, tiredness and feeling dizzy.

Periodic breathing is another condition related to sleeping at higher altitudes. It is a kind of a pause in sleep, which stops breathing during sleep for 5 to 20 seconds. Persons who suffer from periodic breathing also report that their sleep is lower in quality and less restful.

A Positive High Altitude Effect

This may seem horrid but one positive effect of living in or traveling to higher altitudes is the reduction of allergens that are known to trigger breathing issues.

For instance, a research has found that dust mites are less existence in higher altitude homes. It is presumed that this could be due to the lower humidity in the air, especially indoors due to the type of building construction necessary at higher elevation levels.

Air Travel Oxygen Solutions

Solutions for Altitude Affecting Lung Health

If a person thinks that the health of the lungs are decreasing by living in high elevation it is better to move to a lower elevated area. This will also reduce the risk of complications and help to breathe easily.

Avoiding holidays in high-altitude places is also commendable as it will help to improve health of the lungs by reducing exposure to these type of issues.